development Archives - Colorado Politics
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Peter MarcusMay 23, 20176min1000

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed legislation marking the most significant progress on construction defect litigation reform since the debate began at least four years ago.

One of the thorniest issues in the legislature, the bill signing also signaled one of the assembly’s greatest achievements this year, striking a deal that begins to get to reform.

The legislation requires a majority of homeowners in an association to approve a lawsuit and provide disclosure to homeowners of a proposed suit.

“This new law establishes a fair and balanced process for settlement of construction defects claims without infringing on Coloradans’ ability to protect what for most of them is their single biggest investment – their homes,” said Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Denver, who led many of the talks and helped build a grand bargain.

In previous years, talks on the issue have broken down. Negotiations were precarious through much of the process this year as well. But in April, a compromise was reached, which lawmakers rolled out with all the pomp and circumstance of a press conference.

Hickenlooper signed the bill Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol, after it received a unanimous vote in the legislature.

The conversation involved a wide berth of stakeholders, including developers, the business community, homeowners and local elected officials.

“We are pleased that we were able to find a compromise aimed at encouraging more condo development while protecting consumers, but keep in mind that this is the first step in a long process and it is not a silver bullet,” said Kathie Barstnar, co-chair of the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance, which led talks for developers, business interests and local officials.

At one point this year, conversations became so complicated that sponsors of the measure essentially declared an impasse. The effort was partly held up by a few short words in the legislation, which addresses a pause in the time homeowners have to file a lawsuit under a statute of limitations.

The clock would pause up to a 90-day voting and disclosure period as a homeowners’ association decides whether to file a lawsuit.

The bill – as with all construction defect measures – aims at spurring housing development by relaxing concerns from developers over expensive lawsuits. Hickenlooper said the victory is almost psychological for homebuilders.

In addition to Garnett, House Bill 1279 was also sponsored by Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone. In the Senate it was sponsored by Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver and Sen. Jack Tate of Centennial.

“Innovation, teamwork and bipartisanship are alive and well at the Capitol and were essential to the passage of House Bill 1279,” said House Assistant Republican Leader Cole Wist of Centennial, who also played a major role in negotiations. “While this bill will not cure all of our state’s problems with respect to runaway construction litigation, it is a huge step in the right direction.”

Even homeowners, who had feared they might lose access to their day in court to fight shoddy development, applauded passage of the legislation.

“With the governor’s signature on House Bill 1279, homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief that the ongoing fight over construction defect law has finally come to an end,” said  Jonathan Harris, with Build Our Homes Right.

Other efforts this year, however, did not cross the finish line, including a piece of legislation that legislative leaders – including House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, and Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, had sponsored this year.

The measure, Senate Bill 45, would have aimed at equitably dividing litigation defense costs. The idea was to lower insurance rates, which would decrease costs for developers. The concept was highlighted in opening day speeches in the legislature.

But it was opposed by the very groups it was intended to help, including developers, and the bill died.

Still, lawmakers can say they are walking away with a win by pushing House Bill 1279 across the finish line.

“I am pleased that in one of the most productive sessions I have had the pleasure of working in, we finally made a breakthrough on the construction defects issue,” Guzman said. “This bill strikes an important balance that shields honest homebuilders and protects the rights of homeowners.”


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinMarch 29, 20177min116

A five-party funding arrangement is to be considered by Denver City Council that would eventually allow some 2,800 new homes to be built on the former Stapleton International Airport property, which was decommissioned in the mid-1990s. The Stapleton “Five Parties” (City and County of Denver, Denver Urban Renewal Authority, Denver Public Schools, Forest City and Park Creek Metropolitan District) have agreed on an arrangement to fund and build an additional school, fire station and other infrastructure at Stapleton.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinMarch 17, 20178min153

A small, fledgling, informal group of Denver residents wants to "bring the voice of yes" to the city as it considers how to address growth-related issues like affordable housing, transportation and parking, according to the group's "unofficial leader." Part of a small but growing nationwide movement called Yes In My Backyard, YIMBY Denver formed after a Boulder gathering last summer, said Ian Harwick, a Denver resident since 2000 who has lived in Colorado since he was six months old.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinMarch 8, 201710min122

Almost every new resident of Denver adds another automobile to the city's already crowded roads and highways, and those cars and trucks need a place to park when their owners are home or elsewhere. The advent of “micro” housing units, also known as tiny houses, in established Denver neighborhoods led to concerns over the city's pre-existing small lot parking exemption in the city zoning code, especially if two such lots were developed side by side, said City Council President Albus Brooks.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsDecember 22, 201612min169

Colleges and universities across Colorado are grappling with whether the incoming Trump administration will strip away federal deportation protections for undocumented students, most of whom came to the state at a very young age and pay in-state tuition under Colorado law. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was signed as an executive action by President Barack Obama in 2012. The policy provides deportation protection and work visas for law-abiding, undocumented students who came here as children and fit certain age criteria. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to reverse Obama’s executive actions, including DACA, but has since hinted he may “work something out” for undocumented college students whose parents brought them to the United States at a very young age.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinDecember 9, 201611min130

An auto dealership is incompatible with open space and the nearby world-renowned Dinosaur Ridge in western Jefferson County, planning commissioners were told by nearly all the 44 people who spoke at a 4-hour long, packed meeting Wednesday night, Dec. 7. The meeting was continued until Thursday night, Dec. 8, for a recommendation from the planning commission to the county commissioners regarding the proposal. The county commissioners are scheduled to consider the planning commission's recommendation on Jan. 17.


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Ramsey ScottRamsey ScottAugust 2, 20164min128

A proposed development near the RiNo Art District in Denver is looking for the city to approve a metropolitan district to help pay for the almost $58 million in infrastructure and construction of parking for the project. The Midtown Metropolitan District would serve about 17 acres on Brighton Boulevard between 41st and 43rd Streets just south of the National Western Stock Show Complex if approved by City Council. The development, by Westfield Company along with other partners, would be a mixed-use project that included 500,000 square feet of office space, 125,000 square feet of retail, hotel and 600 total units of rental or for-sale apartments with about 100 being discounted “artists rental housing.”